Daken: Dark Wolverine #23A comic review article by: Sara McDonald
Daken: Dark Wolverine is one title I really hated to see end. However, if the series did have to come to a conclusion, this was exactly the way to do it. The creative team clearly didn't see the cancellation of this series as an excuse to phone in a finale, but instead delivered a solid ending to the self-destructive spiral that Daken has been on since his creation.
Daken has certainly never been a superhero, and, though he has had his moments, he's never really been an anti-hero either. Everything he's done, good or bad, has been part of his self-serving, nihilistic worldview and his firm belief that people only help others if it suits their own selfish needs and desires. So what's a man who has lived a life like Daken's going to do when he finds out that life is ending? Reconnect with his estranged father? Have an epiphany that finally brings meaning to his otherwise meaningless life?
For Daken, the answer is to cause as much pointless chaos and destruction as possible on his way out. He plants bombs around New York City, leaving the "costumes" to scramble in order to both stop Daken's dying rampage and prevent a catastrophe. There's no sap, no group hug to change Daken's ways. The series instead ends with Daken's final statement to the superhero community and, most importantly, his father, Wolverine. Daken orchestrates things exactly how he wants them, and no one is made the better person for it.
Williams continues, as he has in the previous issues, to offer well-crafted, provocative inner dialogue for Daken. His take on Daken's narration is perfect for the character, and shows his impressive skills as a writer. Daken's narration shows both his intelligence and his insanity, and provides some of the best lines I've seen in recent comics. Daken's view on family and human nature are dark and twisted, and yet make an uncomfortable kind of sense that makes you almost sympathize with him even as he repulses you. It's this view of Daken's inner workings that truly fleshes out the character and makes him much more than Wolverine 2.0 and which makes this final issue of the series have the impact that it does.
To say much more would be giving too much away, but suffice to say this issue, as well as the entire "Lost Weekend" arc that lead up to the finale are dark yet engaging comics that are a welcome addition to mainstream comics. It's sad to see it ending here.
Sara McDonald started reading comics in the third grade, and now puts her English degree to good use talking about them on the Internet. She currently resides in Western Massachusetts with a roommate, three cats, and an action figure collection and spends the time she isn’t reading comics working for a non-profit. You can visit her blog at Ms. Snarky’s Awesometastic Comics Blog.